SPOKANE-- The Gonzaga women’s basketball team left for Rhode Island Friday, but not without a sendoff here in Spokane.
Those who love the Gonzaga women showed the team why they have some of the best fans in the country Friday morning.
People showed up outside of the McCarthy Athletic Center early in the morning as the women finished practice inside.
Coach Kelly Graves said the 7:30 a.m. practice was not easy on his team, but it will help the women focus on the matchup.
“These are two universities that are synonymous with basketball. When you think Kentucky, you think basketball. When you think Gonzaga, you think basketball," he said.
The early start may have been hard for the team, but not for the fans.
“They're from Spokane, and they’re our girls,” one fan said.
After the basketballs were signed, the crowd waited for the women to load the bus and drive away. The team showed as much love for the fans as they did for the women.
As the bus headed to the airport, fans still weren’t finished. They huddled with each other and cheered their team as the bus drove away.
Coach Graves said while he enjoys home court advantage, he thinks going on the road makes the team feel like it’s truly playing in the NCAA tournament.
Spokane fans who want to watch the game can head to the Gonzaga campus. Fans will gather Sunday afternoon at the Crosby Student Center, where the Alumni Office will host an open watch party.
Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The game airs on ESPN 2, or channel 34 for Comcast customers.